10 fascinating facts about 2020 WW18
by Lucas Aykroyd|03 JAN 2020
Tournament MVP Kristi Shashkina (left, with Ilona Markova and Karina Akhmetova) is the first Russian ever to lead the U18 Women's Worlds in scoring.
photo: Steve Kingsman / HHOF-IIHF Images
The 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship is over. Yet even beyond the U.S.’s exciting 2-1 overtime win over Canada in the gold medal game, there is much to contemplate as the next generation of elite women’s hockey players takes flight.

Here are 10 fascinating facts about the tournament.

1) The U.S.’s Abbey Murphy has joined some elite company. After opening the scoring in the final, the 17-year-old Chicago Mission forward is now the only player to score in three consecutive U18 Women’s Worlds gold medal games besides Kendall Coyne (2008-10). Murphy had two goals in the 9-3 romp over Sweden (2018) and one in the 3-2 loss to Canada (2019).

2) In an interesting coincidence, Kiara Zanon, who scored the golden goal for the U.S. in overtime, is a teammate of Maddi Wheeler, who scored last year’s golden goal for Canada in overtime. They play for the Kingston Jr. Ice Wolves of Ontario’s Provincial Women’s Hockey League.

3) U.S. legend Brianna Decker has made history by becoming the first woman to win IIHF gold at the Olympics as a player, Women’s Worlds as a player, and U18 Women’s Worlds as both an assistant coach and a player. Still active with the senior national team, Decker was also an assistant with last year’s silver-medal squad in Obihiro, Japan.

4) At this tournament, Canada’s Tara Watchorn came full circle. At the inaugural U18 Women’s Worlds in 2008, she debuted in a Canadian jersey at age 17 as the top-scoring blueliner (10 points) and won silver. This year, she debuted as an assistant coach at age 29 with Team Canada and won silver. Watchorn’s signature achievement remains her 2014 Olympic gold in Sochi.

5) 2020 featured the first U18 Women’s Worlds gold-medal overtime ever played 3-on-3, and it was also easily the longest overtime (16:52). The previous record was 6:47 in 2010 when Kendall Coyne scored the 3-2 winner for the U.S. against Canada.

6) Seven out of 12 U18 Women’s Worlds finals (58.3 percent) have now been decided in overtime. That’s an even higher percentage than at the Women’s Worlds, where eight finals out of 19 have been decided by overtime or a shootout (42.1 percent). Two of the six Olympic women’s finals (33.3 percent) have gone past regulation, including Marie-Philip Poulin’s overtime goal for Canada in Sochi and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s shootout winner for the U.S in PyeongChang.

7) Tournament MVP Kristi Shashkina is the first Russian ever to lead the U18 Women’s Worlds in scoring (4+4=8). As the gap between North America and Europe continues to narrow, this marks the second straight year that the scoring champ comes from a European nation in Group A. Finland’s Elisa Holopainen was tops in 2019 (5+3=8).

8) On the whole, Russian women’s hockey is rising. Russia’s 6-1 win over Finland in the bronze medal game represents the largest margin of victory ever by the Russians over a Finnish team in U18 history. And the 1-0 round-robin loss to the Americans was the first time Russia has limited the U.S. to just one goal.

9) Finnish World Junior fans have fond memories of Teuvo Teravainen, who led the 2014 tournament in scoring with 15 points en route to gold in Malmo. Now the NHLer’s 17-year-old sister Satu Teravainen is making her own mark with the national team. After recovering from a foot injury, the 2019 Finnish champion (Espoo Blues) joined the Lionesses in Bratislava for their last two games. Teravainen played with fellow Kiekko-Espoo forward Sofia Nuutinen, the 17-year-old sister of Emma Nuutinen, a two-time Olympian and three-time Women’s Worlds participant. Truly, Finnish hockey is a family affair.

10) Slovak defender Viktoria Kucerova may not have recorded any points in her five games in Bratislava, but the rookie has earned a line in the next IIHF Guide & Record Book. Born on 8 November 2005, Kucerova was the youngest player to make her tournament debut this year (14 years, 48 days). Overall, she is the third-younger player in tournament history after Japan’s Takenaka Sena (14 years, 24 days in 2015) and Switzerland’s Jade Surdez (14 years, 45 days).